This is a slightly asymmetric Micoquian “Faustkeilblatt” (7 cm long) with a br0ken tip, made of quartzite from a field near the classic Middle Paleolithic site of Lenderscheid near Kassel / Germany, found in 1982.
Keilmesser (backed bifacial tools) together with Faustkeilblätter (artefacts with a finely retouched point, blunt base and one face which is flat and covering retouched), Halbkeile (elongated unifaces with a D-shaped cross-section), Fäustel (small bifaces (<6cm) and Blattspitzen (leaf points) are the hallmarks of the Central European Micoquian (Bosinski 1967; Richter 2009).
During the late Middle Paleolithic (after OIS 5e), bifacially worked tools play a substantial role in the archaeological record both in Middle and West Europe.
Ruebens evaluated, if different technocomplexes, that have been described in the past (for example MTA, Central European Micoquian [Keilmesser Groups], Mousterian with small Bifaces, Bout de coupe handaxes…) are genuine entities in the archaeological record or merely an artificial creation caused by the application of different classificatory frameworks.
Ruebens found that:
- Backed and leaf shaped bifacial tools only dominate east of the Rhine river
- Classic MTA-handaxes (thin Cordiformes or triangular handaxes) only occur west of the Rhine River
- The area of Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France contains a more variable record of bifacial tools (a contemporary mix of both Mousterian and Micoquian bifacial tool types) indicating possible influences from both the east and west.
- These regional trends cannot be linked to epistemological or classification issues and there-fore must represent genuine differences in Neanderthal behavior (Reubens 2007).
Although I agree with the essential results of Ruebens work, I would like to add that:
- There are sites west of the Rhine within the “MTA” heartland with a clear Micoquian character (Mont de Beuvry, Abri du Musee at Les Eyzies with classic prodniks during OIS4 [?]), while the classic site of La Micoque should be excluded from any discussion, because it may be substantially older.
- Classic MTA Handaxes were also found also East of the Rhine River (Selm-Ternsche, Haltern I + II, Bocholt, Heimsen in Westphalia; Lenderscheid, Wahlen, Röhrsheim in Hessen; Scheden in Lower Saxony).
- At the Hessian sites, MTA handaxes co-occur with typical Micoquian tools (Keilmesser, Faustkeilblätter, and Blattspitzen). Although these ensembles were not found in an intact stratigraphy up to now, this association near other sites with “pure” Micoquian ensembles ( for example: Buhlen upper settlement place) remains remarkable and indicates that “mixed ensembles” are not confined to the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France. But contrary to the W-European sites these “mixed ensembles” were found within “heartland” of the Middle European Micoquian.
- One of the problems with these ensembles is the fact, that we do not know for sure, if they really represent contemporary artifact associations and if they were contemporaneous to “pure” Micoquian ensembles.
“Broken” Blattspitzen from Röhrsheim: Malgorzata Kot recently argued, that intentional tool fracturing i was a common strategy among the the earliest Middle Palaeolithic leaf point industries in Europe (Rörshain, Lenderscheid, Wahlen, Sajóbábony) . Scar pattern analyses conducted on these assemblages show that breakages appeared in such tools in the middle of their manufacturing process and not at the end. Some of the pieces were shaped actually only after the breakage.
Keilmesser from Buhlen: